Apollo celebrates moon landing 50 years ago with town party | TribLIVE.com
Valley News Dispatch

Apollo celebrates moon landing 50 years ago with town party

JOYCE HANZ | For the Tribune-Review
Aliyah Crowell of Apollo (left), Alexis Guy (center) and Danika Johns, both of Kiski Township, learn about a T39 virtual jet engine display manned by Air Force Staff Sgt. James Cormier at the 50th anniversary of the Apollo Moon Landing held Saturday in Apollo.
JOYCE HANZ | For the Tribune-Review
Volunteer firefighter Brandon Bowersox (left) of Apollo Fire Co. No. 2 battles Rich Frain of Kiski Township’s Station 140 in a Battle of The Barrel competition at the 50th anniversary of the Apollo Moon Landing at Owen’s Grove in Apollo on Saturday.
JOYCE HANZ | For the Tribune-Review
Alexander Suman, 16, of Spring Church, Kiski Township rappels during his descent at a free rock climbing tower provided by The Rock Church at the 50th anniversary of the Apollo Moon Landing on Saturday in Apollo.
JOYCE HANZ | For the Tribune-Review
Apollo native David Knappenberger, 65, traveled from North Carolina specifically to attend Apollo’s moon landing celebration Saturday. He holds his newly acquired commerative postmarked Apollo Moon Landing envelopes, made possible by a collaboration between the Apollo Area Historical Society and the U.S. Postal Service. The commerative stamps and hand-canceled special postmark will be available at the Apollo post office until Aug. 20, 2019.
JOYCE HANZ | For the Tribune-Review
David Knappenberger holds a specially designed U.S. Postal Service envelope with a new moon landing stamp at the moon landing anniversary celebration in Apollo on Saturday.
JOYCE HANZ | For the Tribune-Review
Numerous free activities, including interacting with live birds from “That Guy With The Birds” were offered during the 50th anniversary of the Apollo Moon Landing celebration Saturday at Owens Grove in Apollo. Kenny Sprouse helps Eric Green, 9, of Upper Burrell get up close and personal with several parrots.
JOYCE HANZ | For the Tribune-Review
Numerous free activities were offered during the 50th anniversary of the Apollo Moon Landing celebration Saturday at Owens Grove in Apollo.

Apollo was moonstruck Saturday — in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the historic Apollo 11 moon landing.

Braving brutally hot temperatures under clear skies Saturday, hundreds gathered at Owens Grove and the surrounding grounds to eat, play, learn and reminisce about the day two American astronauts stepped onto the moon.

Presented by the Apollo Area Historical Society, Apollo Hose Company No. 2, the Apollo-Ridge Education Foundation and the Apollo Area Lions Club, the annual event took on a more nostalgic theme this year.

“It’s a really energetic event,” said Sue Ott, vice president of the historical society. “This was a collaborative effort between our organizations and we wanted to present an event that feels a little like 50 years ago — with old fashioned events like free nostalgic games for the kids.”

Free children’s events offered included a water balloon toss, marshmallow spoon race, duck pond, bucket toss, hula hoop jumps and rolls and more.

Apollo Postmaster Dale Walker was busy providing hand canceled postmarks to eager moon landing celebrants like Apollo native David Knappenberger, 65, who traveled from his home in North Carolina specifically to attend the celebration.

“Coming from Apollo, Pennsylvania in Armstrong County — this was important to me,” said Knappenberger, referencing astronaut Neil Armstrong’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind. “I used to skip school to watch the launches and landings. And I recall waiting and waiting on that day to get updates.

“And then, finally, I saw this grainy, black-and-white image on the television.”

The borough of Apollo first celebrated the landmark moon landing on July 21, 1969, a day after Armstrong’s and fellow astronaut Buzz Aldrin’s lunar stroll. Apollo’s original celebration included a parade and special U.S. postmark — and they’ve been celebrating ever since.

A day packed with activities

Events this year included an Apollo 11 interactive journey through the solar system, live entertainment, rock climbing wall, pizza and ice cream eating contests, an Air Force virtual jet engine display, food trucks, battle of the barrel fire hose competitions between local area volunteer fire departments, a car cruise, quilt show and an educational exotic pet presentation by “That Guy With The Birds.”

Lukas Cyphert, 11, of North Apollo scarfed down an entire cheese pizza the fastest, winning first place during the pizza-eating contest. He took home gift certificate from sponsor Fox’s Pizza.

“It was fun,” Lukas said. “I entered the contest because I knew I could be first!”

The festivities ran from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

“We enjoyed the flea market this year, that was new,” said longtime moon landing attendee Jessica Moon, 31, of Kiski Township. “I wasn’t born when they landed on the moon but we go every year and it’s always nice and the kids have fun.”

Those unable to attend Saturday may receive the commemorative hand-stamped postmark, available at the post office in Apollo until Aug. 20.

Apollo residents Joe Kerr Jr. and Dolly McCoy provided the art designs for the commemorative stamp and envelope.

“We were motivated to provide this because it is the 50th anniversary,” said Walker, the postmaster.

Joyce Hanz is a Tribune-Review contributing writer.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.